The Honorable Anita Bonds, D.C. Councilmember At-Large
Dear Councilmember Bonds,
Congratulations on your selection to head the Committee on Housing and Community Development!
Economic trends in most major cities, especially Washington, D.C., encourage young people with good jobs, and wealthy people in general, to move back to our urban core areas. We are fighting a rising tide of affluent folks who desire to avoid commuting and to live near their jobs and entertainment venues. They have plenty of money to spend on housing, so naturally, landlords and developers will take advantage of the situation and raise prices.
As one who has been homeless on and off for six years, I can relate to the difficulty of finding even an affordable room to rent in D.C., not to mention an apartment! I’ve lived mainly in Southeast and Northeast D.C. and stayed at 801 East Men’s Shelter on Martin Luther King Blvd. I also stayed in a couple of very nice small shelters provided by Friendship Place and So Others Might Eat, as well as renting a room on 18th and Benning Rd., NE for the past two years. Unfortunately, I had to leave my room because I could no longer afford to pay my rent, so I am homeless again.
My sincere thanks for your many years of helping low-income people like me. One more thing: please help the People for Fairness Coalition (PFFC) women’s group, who fight for more access to public restroom facilities for all us homeless and poor folks and street people in Washington, D.C. They would really appreciate your help on this issue. Marcy Bernbaum in particular has done excellent research on the Public Toilet situation in other cities, and my other friends at People for Fairness are very nice, hardworking and sincere people who have worked for over six years to help those who are homeless and low-income. You can contact Robert Warren, John McDermott, Albert Townsend, Eugene Sanford, Marcy Bernbaum and the other PFFC folks at Miriam’s Kitchen (ask for Kyla or Kurt.) PFFC meets every Tuesday morning after breakfast at Miriam’s Kitchen, from 8:15 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. I know they would be thrilled and honored if you or other members of our city government paid them a visit sometime! If you come early, you can enjoy a delicious, gourmet-quality breakfast at Miriam’s Kitchen.
Gary J. Minter
Former member of Interagency Council on Homelessness
Writer and vendor for Street Sense